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From watching movies via projectors to entering virtual reality - a peek at A. R. Rahman’s ‘Le Musk’

Have you ever wondered what was the first film ever made and what it was about? Will you believe me if I say that the first film to be made had a duration of just 2.11 seconds? French inventor Louis Le Prince made the first-ever motion picture film, ‘Roundhay Garden Scene’ in 1888. In the earlier days, people had a definition for a film as ‘the combination of pictures compiled together where all the pictures move to produce an effect or motion’. If you are a film buff, then you might be thinking of this technique to be the same as stop-motion animation filmmaking. The idea behind both these techniques is quite similar, but stop motion is entirely an advanced practice where it creates an illusion of pictures that are put in sequential order. These days, people are worried about taking their short films on mobile phones as they feel that the quality might not be that good compared to iPhones or professional cameras. But in the early days, inventors had only this device called the cinematograph, which was used as the camera, and a film printer, and even they projected the film using the same device.

Roundhay Garden Scene
Roundhay Garden Scene

Still from the film, ‘Roundhay Garden Scene’

Various dimensions were added to the film with the introduction of sounds, and colors being added to the films which helped to gather a huge amount of crowd in the theaters. People welcomed these innovations and were willing to experience more and more from the films, which made the industry grow bigger. The inventors made the audience pay in order to seek the experience, which helped inventors to discover more and produce films on a larger scale. Creators started to produce films digitally as they found film rolls to be expensive when it came to making movies with big productions and the expected output was not that good compared to digitally made films. And from there on, animation films, and 3D filmmaking were discovered; and now we have reached the virtual reality filmmaking experience.

The two times Oscar and Grammy winner, A R Rahman recently made a virtual reality film that fascinated the audience, who were mesmerised to gain such an experience. Let us look at what the film is all about.

A brief overview of this fascinating VR film

Le Musk
Le Musk

Recently premiered at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, ‘Le Musk’ is a virtual reality film, co-produced, composed, and directed by A.R. Rahman. It is a 37-minute film that talks about the journey of an orphan girl, who is on the trial of three men having very distinct scents. This kind of narrative prompted Rahman when he was planning to create an experience with projections and scents added to them, and ended up making a virtual reality film completely based on perfumes. The film was shot in 13 days in Roma where they used JAUNT one cameras fitted with 24 camera sensors. This resulted in producing and capturing a high-quality 8k video and the film was shown inside a room using a Virtual Reality motion platform.

How the spectators reacted and what they had to say about the film?

The response received was superb as many viewers felt they never had such an experience before. Few felt as if they were in the same room as the characters. Many appreciated the specific details the movie had, in terms of music and even rendering of the faces of the characters in the film. The film is said to be designed to poke at certain feelings, specifically intriguing a feeling of danger, being part of the narrative. Nobody knew what to expect from it and ended up feeling something authentic, giving them a sense of wonder. Indian actor, RajiniKanth was mesmerized after watching the film, and praised by stating the film to be mind-blowing, and said that he had never experienced such a drama before. Rajinjikanth continued showering compliments and pointed out that the film was one-of-a-kind. Actor R Madhavan had nothing but good things to say about the film as he writes that all his senses were in hyperactivate mode during the premiere. He was blown away by the way Rahman understood the medium and how he managed to use the new technology effectively.

A R Rahman
A R Rahman

Do the audience show interest, and are they willing to seek more new cinematic experiences?

The more innovations are introduced in the films, the more excited people become. When sound was first added to the films, people gathered in droves to hear and experience such discovery. Similarly, when animations were brought into films, the audience welcomed such films with a great response that the creators never thought of. People are always ready to experience different things and they express their feelings when they attain such experiences which helps the creators to understand the mindset of such audiences and bring innovations accordingly. Few people enter the theatres just to get experience from the films of their favorite directors irrespective of the actors performing and the themes portrayed. Filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Wes Anderson are popularly known for their richness in filmmaking and the cinematic experience they bring to the big screens.


Introduction of Imax has made the audience attracted towards viewing films that are larger than life where the screens are 10 times larger than the usual standards. The way of watching 3D films by wearing 3D glasses has made the audience interact and indulge in the film rather than just seeing the picture and staying idle. One can even experience 4D and 7D creations now.

With new cinematic experiences, audiences are able to enter into a new world leaving their reality aside. These are the reasons for the Marvel and DC cinematic Universes to be successful over the years, as they try to give new experiences to the audience, making them stay connected with the universe. Fictional characters like Batman, Superman, Hulk, and Spider-Man don't exist in reality but the impact these characters create in the lives of the audience is huge.


Where do these advancements take the cinema industry?

With the introduction of virtual reality, the growth of the cinema industry is rising and pushing its boundaries by giving an unmatched experience, the audience has never experienced before. As the world is booming with various advancements in technologies, new innovative plots and ideas are being discovered and it is clear from the responses to the virtual reality film ‘Le Musk’ that the future of entertainment is on the right path with the technological advancements made in the digital world. Films are going to be produced on a very big scale, investing huge amounts of money to bring in the experience that none has done before. Young generation filmmakers are required to be skilful and should have the knowledge of the recent advancements in various techniques to cope with the current world of filmmaking.

Recently, Avatar 2 was praised for its aesthetic visual beauty, and the brilliant use of technology providing a new experience for the audience as the film was mostly shot underwater. Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer is shot using a high-speed rotary prism camera that can capture 2500 frames per second. This type of camera is used for actual atomic bomb tests, where a similar kind of experience is expected to be gained from the upcoming film. These advancements excite people to wonder what the film comprises and makes them stay connected with the film.

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